Mark DeBofsky is the top disability lawyer in the state of Illinois. He was named a Super Lawyer in Employee Benefits/ERISA in every year since 2009, and since 2011, he has been listed among the Top 100 Lawyers in the State of Illinois and among the Top 10 in Illinois in 2017.

He is a member of the DeBofsky law firm as well as an adjunct professor of law at University of Illinois-Chicago John Marshall Law School. He is a prolific author who has written many journal articles and has been a regular columnist for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin since 2004. Mark DeBofsky is also an annual contributor to the ERISA Survey of Federal Circuits published by the American Bar Association and served for many years as a senior editor of Employee Benefits Law published by Bloomberg.

His warmth, empathy and compassion really come through when discussing this profoundly important and under-reported area of not only the law, but indeed also of the misfortunes and challenges people face.

For more information on Mark:

Key takeaways:

  • Working in disability law is a chance to do good for individuals and to solve concrete legal problems.
  • The ERISA act of 1974 was designed to help claimants, but is in fact now being used mostly to favor the interests of employers and companies in social security cases. This can make things very difficult – and there is a good chance of ending up with $0. Mark has argued that elements of the ERISA act are unconstitutional.
  • A common mistake lawyers make is being too eager to reach a resolution; be more patient and stick to your guns (though you must have a high tolerance for risk).
  • Explain the process of mediation properly to clients to prepare them for the process. Don’t ask them for their bottom line (they should come in with a completely open mind and be willing to listen).
  • Some companies discourage pre-litigation resolutions as a general rule.
  • Cases brought in Texas are worth less than cases in Illinois.
  • If you know your case, you can be ready to go to court on day one.
  • As a disability lawyer, you need to know the claim record of your client inside and out. You’ll be dealing with a host of medical conditions, some of which translate into a disability more easily than others in the support of a claim.
  • Terms are mostly economic in these kinds of cases.
  • Mark spends 50% of his day being a psychotherapist due to the nature of this work.
  • There is rampant discrimination in insurance policies for psychiatric considerations, and some people assume that there must be some fault on the disabled person for becoming disabled (another form of discrimination).
  • Media coverage is absent on this area – editors consider it too difficult to make a succinct and clear story from these cases.


How did you become a disability lawyer?


Dealing with insurance companies and the difficulties in this?


Preparing for a negotiation?


How to resolve a case pre-litigation?


Biggest mistakes lawyers in your field make?


How do you prepare a client for mediation?


How to determine the value of a disability claim?


Specifics of negotiating value?


When do you decide to mediate cases?


Dealing with impasse?


Non-economic terms?


How does the psychological state of clients affect the process?


Media coverage?


The future – optimistic or pessimistic?


Contact details and final remarks.

WordPress Image Lightbox Plugin

Share this page